“Simple, do you know whose head that is? One of the Direwolf twins, a master class warrior of the Church of Wotan. Although not Legendary beings, the two together in their werewolf forms, could fight a Legendary being to a standstill. You can imagine their strength.” Grobak replied smugly.
“And what of it?” Asked the long bearded Orc who was the acting chief.
Although he was impressed by Grobak’s feat, he had no idea what Grobak’s intentions were. The Harkul were a powerful tribe of the Steppes, but they were currently in a state of resting after having spent years pillaging and were unaware of the current events taking place. This was why the entire tribe was currently residing within The Canyon, and though they had scouts which would often traverse the Steppes for long periods of time, they had not received any news of the expedition. This was obvious to Grobak at first sight when he entered The Canyon. If the Orcs knew what was going on, would they be so complacent? Of course even Grobak did not know the entire situation and that information was intentionally being controlled by certain powerful influences.
“I killed this man on the Steppes, along with….” Started Grobak before being suddenly cut off.
“Haha, I see you have already gained an audience. However, before you say anything more, I believe you owe us an explanation!” A loud booming voice shouted from the entryway of the large stonehall.
Grobak grunted angrily at having been interrupted and turned to look at the newcomers. It was a small group of Dragonmen. Grobak recognized the group except for the one who had called out and appeared to be their leader. This Dragonman was larger than the others and he wore a simple hide vest with his muscular and bulging arms visible. Dragonmen were all relatively large, much like Orcs, but this one was especially so. While Grobak couldn’t much tell them apart, the Dragonman that had spoke out was quite distinct with relatively large horns protruding from his head and curling towards his back. His scaly skin was a much darker hue than the other Dragonmen present and resembled navy blue. Grobak could feel a pressure emanating from him and knew he must be a master class being.
“Dragonmen… scum!” Grobak couldn’t help uttering beneath his breath. This didn’t escape the acting chief’s notice and he frowned.
“What exactly is going on here? I hope you have an explanation for this interruption.”
“Acting Chief Thorne, I apologize for the rudeness, but I have a bone to pick with this unruly and barbarous Orc!” Said one of the Dragonmen who gave a toothy snarl. It was quite apparent that he felt no guilt for the rude intrusion. This was a clear sign of disrespect, but since the Dragonmen were emissaries of an Elder Dragon, Acting Chief Thorne shrugged it off.
“Grobak has only just arrived, what possible issue could you have with him?” Asked Thorne who stood up slowly in hopes of easing the situation.
Orcs naturally didn’t like the Dragonmen who often thought themselves to be a superior race, but it was necessary to show a certain amount of respect so as not to anger the Dragons who ruled over them. This didn’t mean that the Orcs would allow them to do whatever they pleased. The tribes were not weak and would not allow foreign races to take advantage of one of their own. While the tribes often fought and killed each other, when it came to uniting against outside threats, they were far more united than the Humans and other races were.
“Hmph, as soon as that inbred bastard entered The Canyon he not only insulted my clansman, but challenged them to battle! A proud master class being attempting to take advantage of my weaker brothers and even threaten their lives? You have some real courage for a degenerate barbarian!” The Dragonman’s words were laced with killing intent as he shouted and pointed a clawed scaly finger at Grobak who could no longer contain his rage.
Grobak was not stupid, nor was he easily taunted, but being called a degenerate and inbred was something of a reverse scale for him. He was a High Orc, not just the average breed and he had already suffered intense humiliation throughout his entire life due to being suppressed by other tribal people. His race were once a powerful race of rulers and their civilization was once vast and mighty. He was a descendant of nobility with a pure bloodline. It didn’t help that he already suffered from a wrathful disposition.
Grobak roared in rage and pulled out his axe, smashing it against the stone seat he had been seated on. He smashed off a huge chunk of the stone seat with his wild swing, startling Thorne who was surprised by Grobak’s immense strength.
“How dare you! I am a High Orc of a noble bloodline and you are a f****** crossbreed! I’m going to rip your disgusting lizard head off and use your skull as a chamberpot!” Grobak continued to spew profanities as his muscles twitched and his eyes turned almost red in rage.
The Dragonman that had taunted him smirked in disdain thinking his taunts had been successful. Grobak’s reaction had been well within his anticipation, Hah, these Orcs are all simpletons and fools. This one is especially young and easily angered.
The Dragonmen had long been keeping tabs on Grobak’s tribe. They had done everything they could to control the spread of information of the expedition from spreading, but Grobak’s swift and elusive actions had thrown a wrench in their plans. They had never expected such a large tribe to come out of the Steppes and even bring the heads of powerful beings with them. Although they had been watching them in secret from several days ago, they couldn’t act swiftly enough to stop the tribe from arriving at The Canyon.
Instead, they had come up with this plan to delay the Harkul from discovering the truth. If they could silence Grobak, it would give them some more time. Once the negotiations were complete with their dragon overlords, it would no longer matter what the Orcs did. The Humans had already convinced some of the dragons with promises of extraordinary wealth and autonomy if they supported them in their conquest of the Steppes. These dragons were attempting to sway the Elder Dragon King who was their progenitor and ruler. Not all of the dragons were in support of this and so no decision had yet to be made. Ultimately though, the Elder Dragon who was their king, would decide their course.
For now, those dragons who supported aiding the expedition had sent their Dragonmen servants as agents out to keep the Orc tribes in the dark as long as possible so that their would be no united resistance. Grobak’s appearance was a serious concern and the Dragonmen agents had already sent word to inform their dragon lords. If they could remove Grobak here, then his tribe would be leaderless and in chaos. They would be forced to remain outside The Canyon until they had chosen a new chief and this would leave them vulnerable. The dragon these particular Dragonmen served would surely not hesitate to strike.
Even if he couldn’t wipe out the entire tribe, he would certainly rout them and cause them to flee leaving them open to attack by Dragonmen raiders. By the time the Orcs reacted to this and sent emissaries to the Elder Dragon king to protest, it would no longer matter. They could easily delay for even more time, what could the Orcs do? As mighty as they were, it was impossible for them to invade the vast mountain ranges where the Dragonmen and dragons lived. If they tried, it would certainly mean their destruction.
Whether their plan would be successful or not depended on killing Grobak and the Dragonman who was taunting him was confident in his ability to do so. He didn’t truly hold Grobak in any esteem and with the actions Grobak was showing him, he felt even more confident. But, as he contemplated these thoughts and gloated in his mind he suddenly noticed a change in Grobak’s demeanor. The young Orc had suddenly become quiet and instead of the tantrum like outburst he had displayed previously, Grobak now displayed a calm and silent rage that burned deep within him. The Dragonman peered cautiously into Grobak’s eyes from where he stood and it was much like peering into the dark abyss. In that abyss, something stared back at him that sent shivers of fear down his back. He had never known fear, but that look in Grobak’s eyes had changed. It was like he had become a different person and he began to feel as if he had underestimated him. Thorne too noticed the change in Grobak and was impressed. He could see that Grobak was a true Orc warrior.
“Since you so willingly wish to walk to your death, allow my axe to accompany you!”
Without another word, Grobak dashed towards the distant Dragonman with his enormous axe held tightly in his grip. He leaped forward, driving his axe forward and smashing it down on the spot where the Dragonman had stood. The Dragonman had quickly dodged the attack, but Grobak had never intended to hit him and instead smashed the stone at his feet.
“Haha, look at this coward. Can’t even take one swing of my axe. Come then, let us fight to the death on the dueling grounds. I look forward to making use of that thick skull of yours!”
Grobak had quickly understood that the Dragonmen were not just causing trouble for him over a trivial thing, and instead suspected it was part of a bigger plot. That did not concern him though, for he would smash anything that dared to stand in his way for the glory of his master. If they thought he was so easily fooled and toyed with, then they would pay with their lives.
The Dragonmen had all stepped back in fear, but their leader shrugged it off and took a step forward while swinging the spear which had rested at his back.
“Hmph, I will make you regret your rash actions Orc! I will have you pay for your disrespect.”
Grobak only grinned wickedly, not wanting to speak another wasted word, and stomped out of the stonehall. Thorne followed with his guards wishing to witness the duel for himself. The Dragonmen were soon left behind and were quietly whispering to themselves. Their leader watched the Orcs leave, with a feeling of trepidation in his heart. He looked towards the other Dragonmen and motioned with his head for them to follow. He had already walked down the path of no return. There was no way to back out of this now.